Thursday, June 4, 2015

What are they testing? Oh patience...

Well, folks, we're nearly there...the end of another academic term is so close, the boys can almost see the shining rays of daylight at the end of the tunnel....taste the sweet freedom...smell the coconut-y sunscreen...hear the tinkly bells of the ice cream truck...feel the sweltering pavement under their feet as they set out questing for adventures...and what have you. Of course, they would have been sprung next Wednesday, before the addition of 2 "Bonus Instructional Opportunities" tacked onto the end as a result of our pesky Winter Disaster in February (Yeah, it was comprised of a fair amount of snow...a little ice...and 2 solid weeks of pandemonium. Good times...)

Even so, Derek helpfully pointed out, oh, at least a week ago, that "learning is pretty much over for the year" as the high schoolers  reportedly prepared for their exams by reviewing and practicing the material. And, whoo boy, has THAT whole rigamarole been...I suppose "enlightening" isn't really the word, since I'm not quite sure I truly understand it yet. You see, first there are EOGs...which means comprehensive End of Grade tests . Riley has these for Language Arts and Math. But for Science and Social Studies he has NCFEs--which no one actually defined for me, but with my vast intellectual capacity I figured out most likely means North Carolina Final Exams. These are computerized and presumably standardized across the state.

However, according to the Freshman, he has one NCFE (English, pencil and paper), one EOC (End of Class, which apparently is the high school equivalent of EOG--oh, and it's Biology...and taken on the computer), and the rest just garden variety written Finals. (Got all that? Yeah, me neither...glad it's not MY job to keep all this straight!) So, suffice it to say there's been some intense study-type-action happening around here. But during a break in the brain-cramming, Derek sprawled in my office "keeping me company" (um..."preventing me from writing this post...yesterday when it should have been done") and sharing his deepest adolescent boy thoughts. (Are you feeling trepidation? You probably should be...) Such as the following: "Even though we're not going to be doing anything for the last few days of school (uh-oh, you can see where this is going, yeah?) do I still have to go?" Oh, for the love of Pete, what kind of ridiculous question is that? 'Cuz you already KNOW the answer, my precious, beloved child.

And of course he did, in fact, anticipate what I would say. But he shook his head ruefully and commented, "I find that you're waaaaay more strict than my friends' moms. Both in Maryland and here, my friends will shake their heads and go 'Are you KIDDING me?!' when I tell them what your rules are." Siiiiighhhh. So, using my powers of deduction to fill in the blanks, I'm inferring from this that evidently I'm hopelessly old-fashioned because I make an attempt to limit the amount of violence and gore my kids are exposed to in the form of video games and movies....and I impose a curfew time that I expect them to be home and in bed.

Huh. I'm gonna have to go out on a fragile limb here and state, "I don't give a flying fig what the other parents do...that's the way it's gonna be, so suck it up and deal with it." (Oh dear. Using much more...colorful...language, that was a pretty scarily accurate paraphrase of my own mother...hmm, something about apples and trees...) He did have the last laugh of our little chat, however, as he ended with, "There's an election coming up you might want to rethink some of your less popular policies...or risk getting voted out of office." (Yeah, good luck with that, dude. I'm afraid "Queen" is not a democratically selected position, much to your chagrin, I'm sure...)

Minor skirmishes with the mildly rebellious 15-year old aside, the younger son has his own issues... showing signs of cracking under the accumulated weight of 6th grade as he nears the last days. How does this manifest, you might wonder? Let's just say he's been exhibiting an extreme excess of...goofiness. (And for him, this is reeeaaallly saying something, believe me...) He springs in through the door after school and immediately begins jabbering about one thing or another--what happened that day...something he noticed on the way home...or just random, unconnected and barely comprehensible thoughts plucked from his stream of consciousness. Meanwhile he ricochets around the kitchen, gathering his snack and projecting a veritable force field of...fidgety energy. (Makes me want another nap, I tell ya...)

Then there's the recent fascination he's developed for the genre I'll call the Utterly Horrific Pun. For example, the Science curriculum saved one last project for the conclusion of their teaching time. It involves dissecting cow eyes to study the mechanics of vision (I know, right: ewwwww. But also sort of cool...) So one day he says to me, with an absolutely evil smirk on his face, "Hey, today in Science Ms. K said 'I am teaching...the pupils'!" Ugggghhhh. As I groaned theatrically and smacked my forehead, he giggled delightedly and added the kicker: "I know...that's such a...cornea...joke!" At which point I had no recourse but to chase him, shrieking (yes, both of us), from the room to put an end (temporarily, I'm sure) to the madness.

All I can say is: it will be over soon. (Take deep breaths, and repeat in a soothing voice until tranquility is restored. Preferably in a chaise lounge with a fruity beverage and a trashy novel....and really, would a cabana boy fanning me be too much to ask? I guarantee you that would go far toward helping with the "inner peace" thing. Perhaps I've found my To-Do List for Friday...)

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